Laura Miller offers up a few cold hard facts for aspiring writers in this Salon piece. Here’s the gist of it:
“Yet while there's no shortage of good novels out there, there is a shortage of readers for these books. Even authors who achieve what probably seems like Nirvana to the average NaNoWriMo participant -- publication by a major house -- will, for the most part, soon learn this dispiriting truth: Hardly anyone will read their books and next to no one will buy them.
“So I'm not worried about all the books that won't get written if a hundred thousand people with a nagging but unfulfilled ambition to Be a Writer lack the necessary motivation to get the job done. I see no reason to cheer them on. Writers are, in fact, hellishly persistent; they will go on writing despite overwhelming evidence of public indifference and (in many cases) of their own lack of ability or anything especially interesting to say. Writers have a reputation for being tormented by their lot, probably because they're always moaning so loudly about how hard it is, but it's the readers who are fragile, a truly endangered species. They don't make a big stink about how underappreciated they are; like Tinkerbell or any other disbelieved-in fairy, they just fade away.
“Rather than squandering our applause on writers -- who, let's face, will keep on pounding the keyboards whether we support them or not -- why not direct more attention, more pep talks, more nonprofit booster groups, more benefit galas and more huzzahs to readers? Why not celebrate them more heartily? They are the bedrock on which any literary culture must be built. After all, there's not much glory in finally writing that novel if it turns out there's no one left to read it.”
Read the whole thing here .